Le Meridien and RikiTikiTavi

by Andrew Stein

Thanks to Nithya’s many weeks of consulting on the road, she had accumulated enough Starwood Hotel points to allow us to stay at Le Meridien near Angkor Wat. Best shower of the trip. There was strong pressure, constant hot temperatures, and of course great shampoo. But, I had gotten so used to staying at small guest houses and hostels, that I had begun to take for granted that the staff would recognize me and that all places would be as friendly as a family run guest house. The customer service at Le Meridien surprisingly did not meet up to this standard. They forgot our box breakfasts one morning, and they were unfortunately inflexible in accommodating us. That said, it was still a fabulous place to spend three nights and I couldn’t get enough of that shower. I was using conditioner in my very short hair as an excuse to prolong it.

From Le Meridien, I bussed through a flash flood down to Kampot in the South of Cambodia and stayed at a small guest house called RikiTikiTavi. Although not as fancy, there were only five small rooms, and the staff knew my name when I arrived. The room was clean, nice and had A/C, but more than the room, the staff made the place so welcoming. The following evening, I also had a chance to meet Denise, the owner of RikiTikiTavi, who was very friendly as I enjoyed some spring rolls and other happy hour specials while watching the sunset over the river.

Sunset from RikiTikiTavi

I can’t complain about either place as both were fabulous, but I confirmed the value of customer service as a result of their differences.